In Los Angeles back in the late 80’s, you didn’t have to go out to a disco if you wanted to hear HiNRG dance music.
All you needed was to tune in to 105.9 FM, because Power 106 (KPWR) was blasting the hottest dance tracks around the clock.
With disk jockeys like Jay Thomas and Joe Nasty rocking the turntables, the L.A. FM station played an upbeat mix of disco, house, freestyle, and urban pop with artists like The Cover Girls, Exposé, Madonna, and Stevie B.
And during the summer of 1987, they also played “P-P-Power of Love,” the first of many solo records by AbbeAbbe (Abbe Kanter), the lead singer for The Tyrants in Therapy.
“We targeted “P-P-Power” expressly for KPWR,” recalls The Tyrant Michael, who co-wrote and produced the track with engineer/producer Art Munson.
“Art came up with a very hot track that was as much R&B as it was disco,” Tyrant Michael continues, “Art was a fantastic guitarist, who was with The Righteous Brothers for years and then did tons of session work, including tracks for the Rock n Roll album that Phil Spector produced for John Lennon. We’d been doing a lot of recording at his studio in the Hollywood Hills, and I loved the sound he got, so I finally convinced Art to write a dance record with me, since The Tyrants were hot with local dance labels like JDC, Sheik and TSR.”
“I figured that if we made a hook out of the station’s call letters, we’d stand a pretty good chance of getting airplay. So Art sampled me saying the word ‘Power’ and then played it on a keyboard, making it into a cool part that reoccurred throughout the song.”
“Ted Ray and Lucky Pierre at Sheik Records liked the track, so we finished it, and sent it to all the influential record pools and DJ’s around the country.”
“In those days, part of the Hollywood promo ritual was to hit the dance clubs on the East Side and hand the record directly to the DJ in the booth,” says AbbeAbbe, “If you were lucky, he’d preview it in the headphones and if it worked, he’d mix it in right there and then. We tried to make it to 5 or 6 clubs a night, usually a Friday or Saturday, and then at about 3 a.m. we’d be so famished we’d find ourselves scarfing down a BLT at Denny’s somewhere off the 60 Freeway in Montebello.”
“On one of those promo jaunts a local DJ named Alan Ness, aka The Turtle, came along. He knew all the DJs, and we hit Wings, Caddy’s, The Quiet Cannon, Savoy, and Fantasy. And as luck would have it, every DJ played “P-p-Power” while we were in the booth. So we had our BLT at Denny’s and went home to sleep it off,” continues Abbe, “Then about 11 a.m. on Sunday morning, the phone woke us up. It was The Turtle. He was yelling ‘Turn on Power 106, they’re playing your freaking record!’”
“So we got airplay on the hottest station in L.A. for about a month,” says Tyrant Michael, “Whenever there’d be a traffic jam on the freeway, I’d roll down my windows and it seemed that Power 106 would be playing ‘P-p-Power of Love’…and everybody who was cool was listening to our song along with me.”
Power 106 stopped playing dance music in 1992 and switched to a Hip Hop format. But the radio single version of “P-P-Power” resurfaced on Dance with the Tyrants, Volume 1, released in 2010.
“The extended club mix of “P-P-Power” will be on Dance with the Tyrants Volume 2, The Club Mixes,” says AbbeAbbe, “on Emotional Coathanger Records, with a release date scheduled for early 2012.”
The new compilation will also include the original extended club mixes of other classic hits by The Tyrants in Therapy including “Too Tuff To Cry,” “Sweet Magic,” and “Call of the Wild.”